Are Suits Dipped in Mineral Formations the Future of Fashion?

Csenge Vass is the Hungarian Fashion and Textile Designer who moves on the boundaries of media; with a passion for fine art, installation art, and fashion, her recent Diploma collection Morphogenesis is a bold leap forward. Using alum, Csenge grew her own crystals on a variety of delicate and minimalist body suits. The result is entrancing.

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Each crystal takes around a week to grow, using alum and black chromium alum to create the different colours; Csenge hung the garment sleeves into the chemicals whilst the crystals were forming to encourage them to ‘take’. The textile ‘shells’ are made of different fabrics representing different human characters: impressionable, soft, and elastic tulle; rougher natural cotton tulle; the soft and dyed gradient of cotton gauze; the more substantial silk velvet; and finally the stiff and fibrous fur.

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“For me the most inspiring thing is to think of the marginal, and conceptually move on the boundaries,” Csenge shares with us. Its true what they say – all that glitters isn’t gold. Sometimes, it’s the alum sleeve of a concept-fashion piece.

THE PLUS: They’re fascinating garments – do you plan for these to be worn?
Csenge Vass:
These are objects – I call them objects, because I made them unwearable. The crystals close the sleeves, so nobody can put them on. It was a deliberate gesture, so that the viewers could only observe the work and imagine themselves in the dresses.

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TP: As objects, then, why did you choose to present them in these tubes?
CV:
These capsules have a function – they protect the crystals against oxidation. Besides that, they have conceptual importance too. The crystals keep themselves ‘alive’ through shells, they close the cast moisture in, again and again. Inside the tubes a special ecosystem is created, which works as a closed, independent natural system.

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TP: What attracted you to crystallisation for this project?
CV:
I chose it because of it’s randomness: it always creates new structures and textures, and this process made me work alongside nature itself. This is also a technique which allows me to freeze time, and to manipulate and deform fabrics.

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TP: You work in a lot of different media; what attracts you to fashion design in particular?
CV:
For me the most exciting thing in fashion is to work with the human body. You can always interpret other mediums or perspectives to rethink the relation between the human body and materials.

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TP: Your work tends towards minimalism, but is very carefully structured. How did this develop?
CV:
The most structured things can also be the most minimalistic. For me the most important thing is to find the main emphasis – in all of my work I chose a striking phenomenon, and because of that all the other parts of the project have to serve and corroborate that.

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TP: What three things would we find on a moodboard for this collection?
CV:
Natural and crystal structures, sterile scientific surfaces, and artists, like Martin Margiela, who have inspired me.

TP: And what is one thing that’s really inspiring you at the moment?
CV:
I am very inspired by the connection between metal and textiles.

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TP: Speaking of morphogenesis – what’s the most surprising way in which you’ve changed recently?
CV:
This project deals with a natural phenomenon that at least as self-conscious and independent as we are. I could live different types of creative characters, like the role of dependent, superior, leader and vulnerable too. I could try various creative behaviours.

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TP: How do you get past creative block? 
CV:
Creativity is always evolving and changing. I can be really blocked and shocked by this ongoing process, but I remind myself that there is a solution that I don’t see yet. Coincidences and random situations can always surprise us – in a good way.

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